Most Africans are poor. Everyone knows that. But they needn’t be. On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the Rich World. Money that’s never taxed. Africa has the fastest growth of millionaires in the world, but the burden for building much needed infrastructure keeps on getting pushed back to those who can least afford to pay. For African economies straining under the burden of debt and the conditions that are placed on it, tax revenue means self-reliance, economic freedom, and money to improve education and health. So why are African countries relying on aid, rather than taxing those who profit most from their countries? In what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, today’s guests challenges the accountants and politicians of the world to 'Go figure!' Our co-host, John Christensen – a Director and founder of the Tax Justice Network – spent 11 years as the economic adviser to that infamous tax habourer, Jersey. As he shows us how countries' coffers are being plundered to leave populations in poverty, he proves how vibrant – and important – tax issues can be.
* Investigative journalist and author, Nicholas Shaxsonreveals how President Omar Bongo of Gabon maintained a giant offshore slush fund, fed by African oil and hooked up to tax havens.
* Greg Muttitt from London NGO PLATFORM lifts the lid on how the International Tax and Investment Center – a registered charity – manipulates governments for six of the world’s biggest oil companies.
This program also features the music of Indian musician Debashish Bhattacharya and his three guitars – a trinity of guitars that he designed himself. Together the guitars straddle the styles of one thousand years of Indian music. The result - Calcutta Slide Guitar - is a CD that's already attracting award nominations.